Abu Dhabi will continue importing gasoline for at least a year to meet domestic demand until a new refinery begins producing the fuel 12 months from now, officials with the state oil company said.
“We’re balanced on most products, except for gasoline,” said Sultan Al Mehairi, marketing and refining director at Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. “That’s the focus of our new refinery.”
Persian Gulf crude exporters, including Saudi Arabia, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates, buy refined fuels like gasoline and diesel to meet local demand when they don’t have sufficient capacity themselves. The countries are expanding refinery operations to satisfy that demand and cut imports.
Adnoc, as the oil producer in the largest U.A.E. sheikhdom is known, will continue importing about six to eight cargoes each quarter until the refinery reaches full capacity, Al Mehairi said at a conference in Abu Dhabi yesterday.
The company is doubling capacity at the 400,000 barrel-a- day Ruwais facility, its largest, and expects to bring the unit online by March, Ahmed Abdulla, chief operating officer at Adnoc’s refinining arm, said. Al Mehairi and Abdulla both spoke at the Middle East Petroleum and Gas Conference.
Gasoline production from the new units will start in April or May next year and will double output to 5.3 million metric tons a year, Abdulla said. The new plant will include a 127,100 barrel-a-day residue fluid catalytic cracker, a plant that makes the transport fuel and chemical products, he said. Ruwais is set to reach full capacity by August 2014.
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